This young lawyer was a lost soul until he found his way to Ivy Style, the website and the clothing genre, and joined the online trad brotherhood.
* * *
Twenty-seventeen is the year I found my style. Prior to this year, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Although I am in a career which requires dressing up most days, I had no defined style.
Although I had exposure to some trad and preppy brands, such as owning a few Ralph Lauren sweaters or a few Brooks Brothers polo shirts from my father, I did not consider myself Ivy or preppy. I grew up as a teenager in the early 2000s, so I was used to the stylings of Jnco Jeans and Abercrombie & Fitch as casual clothing. As such, I purchased suits and other clothing items that tended to be horribly oversized and looked as if I was wearing hand-me-downs. When I lost a bit of weight and fashion tended to lean towards the slim-cut darted suits, I picked up a couple of those, too. As a result, I was a mish-mash of different styles.
While I had been introduced to the Brooks Brothers flagship at 346 Madison, having grown up in New York, most of the time it felt uncomfortable. I had been more intimidated by the bastions of classic menswear than anything else. For example, I walked into a men’s store on Madison and 47th around 2010 — a store that turned out to be J. Press — and felt extremely intimidated by the various clothes there. I saw a few oxford shirts, some nice sportcoats, and suits. But I felt most comfortable wearing jeans like most of my classmates, and some rugby shirts. However, I did see two things that caught my eye: a table of Shetland sweaters in every imaginable color, and schoolboy scarves. I didn’t actually end up buying anything; since I wasn’t actually an Ivy Leaguer, I thought that I shouldn’t wear an Ivy-colored scarf. I never walked into that store again.
Then earlier this year I changed jobs and found that I needed a few sportcoats. I tried to find one that fit my needs — something not too formal nor too relaxed — but eventually realized I’d just purchased a gray suit coat. At that point I decided to go online to seek advice on sportcoats, and Ivy Style was one of the first results in my search. Though I didn’t realize it, I already had many Ivy basics in my closet. I owned a few oxfords, repp ties, and Shetland sweaters. Most importantly, I loved wearing these items, particularly my Shetland cardigan, having gone through three since college.
I’d always wanted to enjoy dressing well, but now I’ve finally put all the pieces together. Over the past few months, I’ve added flap-pocket OCBDs, a new blue blazer, and some knit ties. I like that the look allows a bit of individuality and allows me to stand out from the greater community. One can always wear pants and a shirt to work, but it’s the small touches that set Ivy apart, from OCBDs, to to ribbon belts and sack coats. I’ll admit that some Ivy items aren’t for me, but then again, graphic tees with bulldogs on them aren’t exactly Ivy.
And most important of all, because of this website, I’ve actually found myself part of a larger community. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few fellow Ivy aficionados both young and old, such as the Millennial Fogey. I am proud to have found this community, one I didn’t even realize I was partially a part. — BEN BLUM